HIMSS and Health 2.0 European Conference

Thank you for attending the 2019 event.
We look forward to seeing you again 26-28 May 2020!

Helsinki, Finland
June 11-13, 2019

Patient Summaries in focus: How many times do I have to answer the same question?

In my journey through the health system, the people I meet ask me a lot of questions. Often these questions are repetitive, which is quite annoying. Of course, the continuous check of my date-of-birth serves to prevent mistakes in identification of me as a person. But how many times do I have to list my current medication? Am I a trusted source to provide that information? What about my allergies, chronic conditions or implants? Don’t these people talk to each other? Why don’t they have access to my key health data? The International Patient Summary serves that purpose.

What is a patient summary?

A first association with a patient summary is a document that summarises my key health data. I can take it with me to any healthcare provider to provide the most recent and validated information that is relevant. Traditionally, this document is embedded in, for instance, a referral letter from my family physician to a medical specialist. In digital times, the patient summary is structured in such a way that it can be used to populate the relevant fields in an electronic health record system. This would dramatically reduce the number of times data needs to be re-keyed and thus prevents human errors. The repeated questions I get asked during my patient journey show that we are not there yet.

Why an international patient summary?

The concept of a patient summary is rather universal, so every country will recognise the need. With people moving across borders more often, it would be helpful to have a patient summary travel with them. This is what is currently being implemented across Europe. Here the focus is on structured and coded data, to enable automated translation of medical content. The eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure provides the tools to connect National Contact Points for eHealth with each other. So when something happens to me in Greece, at some point my Greek doctor will be able to access my patient summary, including translation of terms that I have no knowledge of, neither in English nor in Greek.

A starting point to boost digital health innovation

I have been using quite a few apps for my health. However, the process to set up the app is always a nuisance. Every time I have to answer the same or similar questions to complete my initial health profile. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could direct this app to read my patient summary instead? It would be a first step to make the app part of my regular health routines. The next step would be to also connect to the systems of my healthcare providers. Such innovations have been studied in the Trillium II project, all focused around the International Patient Summary.

At the HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 Conference 2019, the Trillium Prize will be awarded to the best digital health innovator using the International Patient Summary. At the same time, we will launch the Global Community for Digital Health Innovation to raise the bar when it comes to International Patient Summaries in practice.

Join me and other partners from the Trillium project onsite the conference and don’t miss the Trillium Award and Global Community for Digital Health Announcement on Thursday, 13th June between 14.50 – 15.15 on the Spotlight Stage on the exhibition floor! See you soon.

Robert Stegwee 

Chair, Health Informationcs, TC251, CEN

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@stegwee

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